Palaeoenvironmental analysis of large-scale, high-resolution GPR and magnetometry data sets: the Viking Age site of Gokstad in Norway


Large-scale, high-resolution geophysical data sets offer new possibilities for the comprehensive study of archaeological landscapes. In addition to the mere archaeological component, these data sets carry palaeoenvironmental information about the study area. Such information was known but rarely used in conventional geophysical surveys, which is mainly due to methodological issues. The Viking Age site of Gokstad in the Norwegian Province of Vestfold was chosen as a pilot study in order to perform a palaeoenvironmental analysis of large-scale, high-resolution ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and magnetometry data sets. The aim was to investigate how much palaeoenvironmental information is contained in such data sets, how this information can be extracted and analysed and whether it is relevant for the archaeological interpretation. Results yielded a variety of different palaeoenvironmental aspects including characteristics of the Viking Age shoreline, traces of former topography as well as insights into the palaeohydrology of the study area.

Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences